The Art of War by Sun Tzu

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

Written around 500 BC The Art of War is a brief read on how to be successful in war. Broken into tactics: Laying Plans, Waging War, Attack by Stratagem, Tactical Disposition, Energy, Weak Points and Strong, Maneuvering, Variations in Tactics, The Army of the March, Terrain, The Nine Situations, The Attack by Fire, and The Use of Spies.

Following the tactics described by Sun Tzu can predict the outcome of war.

All warfare is based on deception.

Sun Tzu says:

To win the war one must make calculations, Know thy enemy. In business and life, seek first to understand. Study. Calculate. Prepare. Engage.

The Navy Seals have a saying that goes: “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” Take this mentality to everyday life.

Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing.

Sun Tzu says:

Change is the only constant is a concept Yuval Noah Harari mentions in his book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. Be able to adapt constantly. One of the reasons I started the challenge of reading 100 books in 2019 is because of this concept. Our minds create a box of perceptions and education expands the box. The doorway out of the box starts with “I don’t know.”

Move not unless you see advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the position is critical.

Sun Tzu says:

Each move should be calculated. We have a limited amount of energy. Also, we have a limited amount of time in a day. 24 hours we are all given. Minus 8 hours for sleep. Minus 8 hours for work. This leaves us with 8 hours remaining. What one does in those remaining 8 hours will determine who one becomes. Become conscious of your time.

Time-management is a trait that has recently taken much importance in my life. Working in a hostel and a part time job my time is limited. Guests from all walks of life come and go. Most of the time it is their first day of vacation and want to go out and have fun inviting me along. To say yes to everyone would mean my energy — financial, mental, physical — would be drained. Learning the art of saying no has opened up my mind to see the opportunities that were always there.

I read The Art of War by Sun Tzu in one sitting but didn’t understand how the words written could be used in everyday life. I sat on the words for a while. Also, there is a documentary on the history channel about Sun Tzu’s The Art of War that helped break down the teachings.

Sun Tzu’s teachings can be seen used in many wars throughout history (Vietnam, WWII..)

For a quick read, The Art of War by Sun Tzu is both strategy and holistic. Grab a copy here and enjoy!

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